Social Media vs the SEC and Event Sponsors

Reminiscent of the early days in the battle lines being drawn between the music and movie industry vs. the “free music world”, a war is brewing between the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the media and fans.

The SEC is very worried that fans will become their own broadcast stations for football games through the next generation of Flip HD cameras and so they are introducing rules they hope will stop the loss of their exclusive broadcasting rights before the loss begins. They are imposing new rules to prohibit fans taking pictures during games and posting them on Facebook, YouTube or Flickr. Oh yeah, just in case you wondered, you can’t Tweet about the games either.

If you think the SEC will be the only event organizer who sets new media policies, think again. The billion dollar TV rights buyers will demand the program sellers try and do something to preserve the exclusivity of their broadcast rights. Anyone with half a brain knows this is going to be like putting your finger in a hole in the dike. The over flow will be everywhere. How the SEC thinks they will enforce the new rules will be a question without an answer, although early on we may see some season ticket holders banned and a few lawsuits used to scare people just as in the days of early Napster.

The real answer the SEC and broadcasters are missing is the lesson social media brings us in the first place. More involvement by fans in the entire experience will only improve the interest in what is being broadcast and a rabid fan is more valuable than a fan who thinks big brother is watching his every move.

Trying to fight city hall has always been a losing proposition and the same is true for trying to bridle technology and fans. The more you try, the worse it gets. Transparency should be the new mantra for big institutions, government and yes, even football conferences.